#Recap: Fall ‘19 conference trends & insights

The fall conference season of 2019 is over and as we look back to reflect on all the knowledge that was shared across conferences in different regions, these are some of the main trends that we saw impacting the industry. What’s more, these trends are influencing how we as technology platforms and digital service providers will act upon servicing small business customers in the new year. Here are some of the top presentation trends that you need to keep an eye on:

1. The digital transformation is not over quite yet.

One of the more intriguing panels at the Siinda conference was the session on if legacy businesses can compete with agencies. This session highlighted that while legacy businesses have been undergoing a digital transformation, but are not quite yet done. This point was especially highlighted by John Goddard, CEO at European Directories (Guest post coming to the Mono Blog soon!) as he outlined 8 key changes legacy businesses still need to make. A similar session was presented by industry veteran, Paul Plant, at AsiaComm (the presentation can be viewed online) highlighting 25 lessons that he’s gathered based on his experience. Lastly, Andrew Shotland from the Local SEO Guide took a more pragmatic approach to driving business “Is Local SEO Dead for Local Directories?” and highlighted that directories need to focus on SEO to drive more value to their internet yellow page (IYP) products.


2. Data is still key to understanding SMBs and helping them flourish


Data has still been a hot topic at conferences this year; from updated data on Siinda’s Digital Landscape Study to new data on Generation Z. Demographics data on digital adoption across different markets also continues to stay relevant, as the industry tracks the progress. This was also something that was covered in LSA Sr Industry Analyst, Charles Laughlin's presentation on “SaaS - The Next Small Business Revolution” with data from the Modern Commerce Monitor. Another interesting take on data came from Yext’s Chief Data Officer, Christian Ward, who presented on "Unlocking the Growth of Data Partnerships" highlighting how the use of data can increase the value that your business provides to your customers.


3. Driving greater product engagement

Lastly, the discussion on engagement continued this conference season, and this was a topic presenter’s from Mono specifically focused on. And while last year focused more generally on the importance of engagement - this year our CEO, Louise Lachmann, joined a panel focusing on how engagement can drive customer acquisition, growth and retention. On a more research oriented approach, I presented the findings from The Engagement Challenge report alongside Charles Laughlin at AsiaComm. In the presentation, Addressing the Engagement Challenge, we highlighted the need for a do-it-with-me approach and product-led growth to help small business better engage with the SaaS products that they buy. The need to think more about engagement was also readily captured in Neal Polachek’s, Think Like An App, segment that highlighted the need for businesses to take the preference and demands of the modern consumer (immediacy, transparency and authenticity) into account when advising and selling digital marketing to SMBs.


As this year wrap’s up and planning for 2020’s big spring conference season begins, we’re excited to see what new sales, marketing and technology initiatives will help drive success as we begin a new decade where the digital presence of small businesses will only become increasingly important.